Francisco Matto - Portraits, Totems and Graphisms, 1911 - 1995
An artist of humble materials, Pre-Columbian scholar and collector, aristocrat of the Taller Torres-García artists and gifted portrayer of the feminine. This exhibition celebrates Matto's portraits and VENUS totems.
"If we don't attain the elemental shapes we will never be able to arrive at the mystery." Matto
"These words, imbued with deep significance and expressed with his characteristic candor and simplicity, are the key to Matto's art and his being. Every artist develops a way of working that will best allow him to give concrete form to his vision. Matto's system resembles the discipline of Zen: the repetition of a prayer or an action that produces a state of introspection in which intuition and perceptual powers are heightened. Concentrating on the most important lines and volumes, slowly and methodically he would isolate the "elemental forms" of reality. As in the sculptures of Brancusi, the most comprehensive contemporary exponent of purist forms, the same theme is also repeated over and over, each new version differing subtly from the previous one."
Cecilia de Torres, excerpted from the Buenos Aires catalogue essay, Galería Palatina, March, 1999
Robert C. Morgan Review - Courtesy of Review Magazine (February 1, 2000)
b. 1911, Montevideo, Uruguay - d. 1995, Montevideo, Uruguay
At the age of twenty-one, Matto traveled to Tierra del Fuego and acquired the first Pre-Columbian pieces of what was to become a major collection and an important influence on his art. In 1962, Matto opened his Museum of Pre-Columbian Art housed ceramics, textiles, and sculpture from Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela.
In 1969, Matto won the first prize for the silver coin he designed for the Central Bank of Uruguay, awarded by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Geldgeschichte, an international numismatic association based in Frankfurt, Germany. In 1982, he was invited to participate in the First International Meeting for Open Air Sculpture in Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Art, for Matto, was a means of communicating with the divine, and the elemental forms of his sculptures became vehicles to facilitate the quasi-religious function of his art. In his Totem Series, Matto sought to develop the animistic principle through the liberation of the sign.
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